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Jwala Prasad Aggarwal Versus DCIT, Central Circle 14, New Delhi

2017 (12) TMI 349 - ITAT DELHI

Penalty proceedings u/s 271(1)(b) - non-compliance of statutory notices - reasonable cause - Held that:- The main planks for reasonable cause pleaded by the assessee has been that, firstly, the key person/group head, Shri Gopal Kumar Goyal who was entrusted with income tax matters and was looking after the entire working of the group was in judicial custody in some criminal proceedings and the entire group and family members were engaged in ongoing court proceedings for his early release and var .....

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ls). All these facts and circumstances under any prudence do constitute reasonable cause falling within the scope and ambit of section 273B and accordingly, we are of the considered opinion that failure to comply with certain notices on a particular date was due to reasonable cause as highlighted by the assessee not only during the course of the assessment proceedings but also before the Assessing Officer and Learned CIT(Appeals) in the impugned penalty proceedings and hence penalty cannot be le .....

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relation to the penalty proceedings u/s 271(1)(b) for the A.Ys. 2002-03 to 2008-09. 2. Since in all the appeals the issues involved are same arising out of the identical set of facts, therefore, the same were being heard together and are being disposed off by way of this consolidated order. 3. The assessee is mainly aggrieved by the levy of penalty of ₹ 20,000/- u/s 271(1)(b) for all the impugned assessment years which was on account of failure to comply with the statutory notices/ date f .....

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the assessee and assessments have been completed for the impugned assessment years passed under section 144 read with section 153A. During the course of the assessment proceedings the Assessing Officer initiated penalty proceedings u/s 271(1)(b) for noncompliance of certain statutory noticesby the assessee and accordingly, show cause notice was issued on 24.6.2013. In response to the show cause notice, the assessee filed very detail explanation, challenging the validity of initiation of penalty .....

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compliances of all the notices by submitting it s replyon the details and query asked by the AO on the dak counter or through registered/speed post; * thirdly, it was submitted that more than 303 group assessments were conducted during the short span of five months, hence it was very difficult to comply with all the notices in all the cases at the appointed dates, but the assessee though belatedly on some occasion duly submitted all the replies before the Assessing Officer during the course of t .....

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was a reasonable cause for delay in submitting the replies or non-compliance on the appointed date. 5. However, the ld. Assessing Officer levied the penalty of ₹ 20,000/- on the ground that the assessee did not attend offices in response to the various notices issued or date fixed on two of the occasions. 6. The Learned CIT(Appeals) too has confirmed the said penalty after observing and holding as under:- 8.3. None of the reasons given in the written submission, namely, search operations o .....

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equent assessments were required to be completed by the AO before the limitation date, in respect of which also, as per the AO, the requisite details were not being filed. In considering the matter of penalty u/s 271(1)(b), that relates to non-compliance to a statutory notice, issued in the case of a specific assessee for a particular AY requiring attendance on the stated date, the pendency of a large number of other cases of the group is an irrelevant fact. Moreover, the burden of pendency of a .....

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alpaperwork, was a personal and private decision of the assessees of the group and can hardlyconstitute a justification for non-compliance of the statutory notices in the case of the appellant. Moreover, if the 'circumstances', cited as 'reasonable cause' for non-compliance of statutory notices, did not come in the way of filing the writ petitions, these could not possibly have hindered the presence of the assessee/AR before the AO on 30.11.2012 and 28.12.2012. 8.5. As per sectio .....

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l)(b) read with section 274, the only aspect that has to be examined is whether there was any reasonable cause that prevented the appellant from complying with the statutory notices issued by the AO. Here, the appellant did not comply with the statutory notices on 2 different occasions spread over a period of 3 months. The appellant could have escaped from the rigours of penalty, had the statutory notice been acknowledged and adjournment requested timely. However, the appellant chose to complete .....

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onsidered. The detail of replies filed on various cases including that of assessee sent through registered post or dak has been illustrated at pages 14 to 16of the paper book. Apart from that, he submitted that in the first appeal the relief has already been granted to the assessee and income has been computed at nil and such appellate orders have attained finality. The copy of the assessment ordersgiving effect to the first appellate order computing the income at nil incomeright from assessment .....

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l of the penalty notice as appearing at page no. 6 of the paper book, it is seen that nowhere the Assessing Officer has mentioned about any particulars of statutory notice/s for which there was any default on part of the assessee. Show cause notices issued for initiating penalty proceedings should be specific and without any ambiguity, because the assessee while giving the explanation should be aware of the charge for which penalty is being initiated and can give his specific rebuttal. Such vagu .....

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ailable and the whole family members and the group heads were engaged in ongoing court proceedings to get early release of Shri Gopal Kumar Goyal who was in judicial custody. This contention raised by the assessee before the Ld. Assessing Officer, in the course of the assessment proceedings have not been accepted and he proceeded to make the assessment u/s 144 read with section 153A. However on perusal of various replies filed by the assessee before the Assessing Officer during the assessment pr .....

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es do have been filed in the course of assessment proceedings and all the necessary details required for the purpose of assessment has been provided. What are required to be seen while levying penalty for non-compliance of statutory notices, is the facts and circumstances for non-appearance on the specified date, that is, whether there was any reasonable cause and the overall conduct of the assessee. The main planks for reasonable cause pleaded by the assessee has been that, firstly, the key per .....

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